Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  September 10, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: president obama will address the nation tonight and outline his plan to extend the fight against islamic militants into syria. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this wednesday, hundreds of children across the country have fallen ill with a rare, but potentially severe respiratory illness. we explore what's behind the mysterious virus and its rapid spread. >> ifill: plus, the video game minecraft has attracted millions of addicted players. now, microsoft is getting in on the game, looking to buy the company behind it for $2 billion. >> woodruff: those are just some
6:01 pm
of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> charles schwab, proud supporter of the "pbs newshour." >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support
6:02 pm
of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: president obama spent this day trying to build support in congress and overseas in the run up to his nationally broadcast address. it's scheduled for 9 p.m. eastern time. the newshour will provide live coverage. the president is now widely expected to expand the month old air campaign against islamic state militants in iraq and extend it into syria. he'll lay out the strategy in his speech tonight. >> my fellow americans... >> ifill: it comes exactly one year since mr. obama addressed
6:03 pm
the nation on a possible military response to syria's use of chemical weapons. then, he sought congressional authorization. >> even though i possess the authority to order military strikes, i believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to congress. >> ifill: but congress and the public proved skeptical, and the plan was ultimately shelved when syria agreed to hand over its chemical arsenal. this time, the president is not seeking formal approval of military action against the islamic state, also known as isis or isil. instead, he's asking congressional leaders for other action, including funds to arm and train moderate rebel factions in syria. senate majority leader harry reid backed the plan. and in biting terms, he charged republicans are taking their cues from the wrong man in a rush to war. >> former vice president cheney was here yesterday, giving republicans a pep talk.
6:04 pm
he's going to-- he gave them advice on foreign policy. please, mr. president, please! taking advice from dick cheney on foreign policy? that's a terrifying prospect. we should be learning from our past mistakes, not repeating them. cheney answered with equally tough talk, in a speech today at the american enterprise institute in washington. >> in a few hours we will hear what he has in mind for the terrorist onslaught currently in iraq. we can hope for and we should look for signs of a forceful, bold and immediate strategy to defeat isis. we can say already, however, that such a plan would mark an abrupt and dramatic departure from his record thus far. >> ifill: back in the senate, minority leader mitch mcconnell took up that same theme, saying the president has been a rather reluctant commander in chief. >> it's pretty clear to me at
6:05 pm
least that the american people fully appreciate the nature of the threat. after the beheadings of two american citizens, they don't want an explanation of what's happening. they want a plan. they want some presidential leadership. >> ifill: at the white house, the president sought support from lawmakers, and he telephoned saudi arabia's king abdullah. meanwhile, secretary of state john kerry arrived in baghdad to meet with iraq's new prime minister haider al-abadi and his cabinet. >> a new and inclusive iraqi government has to be the engine of our global strategy against isil. and now that the iraqi parliament has approved a new cabinet with new leaders and representation from all iraqi communities, it's full speed ahead. >> ifill: the new iraqi leader also appealed for international aid against the islamic state. france responded by saying it
6:06 pm
will join in expanded air strikes, if needed. germany said it's sending weapons and armored vehicles to kurdish forces in iraq. >> ifill: france responded by saying it will join in expanded air strikes, if needed. germany said it's sending weapons and armored vehicles to kurdish forces in iraq. there was also word the five permanent members of the u.n. security council, including the u.s., britain, france, russia and china will meet monday in paris, on how to stabilize iraq. >> woodruff: meanwhile, inside iraq today, at least thirty people were killed in a series of attacks targeting security forces and markets in baghdad. "wall street journal" reporter matt bradley is on the ground there, i spoke with him a short while ago. matt bradley, welcome. we just reported that secretary of state kerry has arrived in
6:07 pm
baghdad, meeting with the new political leadership there. what have you learned about the visit? >> well, secretary kerry met with some of the leading ministers here in iraq. we have to remember that these are men who assume their post just in the last two days. they were sworn into office monday night. mr. kerry has been trying to project an image of this new government as an inclusive government, one that he can take back to washington and say is going to be supporting all the u.s. intervention in iraq with the support of the entire country, of sunni arabs, shiite arabs and the kurdish minority in the north. so these meetings now were for john kerry to try to explain what president obama is going to explain to the american public tonight. >> woodruff: is there a sense, matt, that this new government is going to be more inclusive and how much difference will that make? >> it's not so much this government is more inclusive, and even though the obama administration keeps using the
6:08 pm
word "inclusive" to describe this government, in terms of numbers and in terms of the positions and the power structure, it's exactly the same or even possibly less inclusive than the previous government under previous prime minister nouri al-maliki. but what obama administration officials keep saying over and over again is that prime minister maliki is gone, that prime minister maliki was the problem and now that he's in the vice presidency position he has been declawed and this new prime minister, even though he's from the same strong shiite political party, is going to be better. they're saying i he is much better. >> woodruff: what do you hear from what the iraqi leaders want to hear from president obama
6:09 pm
obama and is there a difference on what the leaders are saying on that? >> here in iraq, a couple of years ago they were trying to push the united states out before they left in december 2011, now it's almost unanimous that everyone from sunnis, kurds, shiite, all want to see more u.s. involvement, some just want the u.s. to stick to air strikes but they want to see more. across the board, they want to see more weapons to the iraqi military, more and better training for the iraqi military by the americans. they want to see more american advisors, of which there are several hundred on the ground in baghdad, and some even want to see boots on the ground, they want to see u.s. forces reemerging on the ground here in iraq to fight back an islamist insurgency that the iraq can can military has shown themselves incapable of confronting. >> woodruff: we know the obama administration ruled out boots on the ground but it will be
6:10 pm
interesting to see how much of that squares with what the president said. matt bradley joining us from baghdad. thank you very much. >> ifill: in a few minutes, we'll turn to the diplomatic and political implications of the president's plan. >> woodruff: in the other news of this day, the president of ukraine raised hopes for the long-term success of a cease- fire with pro-russian rebels. petro poroshenko told his cabinet that maintaining the truce has not been easy. but he said the majority of russian forces have gone home since the deal took effect on >> ( translated ): 70% of russian troops have been withdrawn from ukraine. it creates the grounds for the prospect of a peace initiative. today, future developments depend on our joint, efficient and coordinated work towards the unity of the whole country. >> woodruff: russia has denied it ever sent any military forces into ukraine. in another development, the russian navy test-launched a new, intercontinental ballistic missile. it's capable of holding up to ten nuclear warheads.
6:11 pm
in moscow, president vladimir putin spoke to a kremlin gathering, and said the test is a response to nato expansion in eastern europe. >> ( translated ): we have said many times that we will have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security. so we very much would like to avoid hearing hysterics later when final decisions are made and start to be implemented. >> woodruff: development of the missile has been delayed by a number of failed tests. >> ifill: monsoon flooding across pakistan and india caused a major river to overflow today, threatening thousands more people. from the disputed kashmir region in the northern himalayas are now moving downstream, submerging more towns in the surrounding plains. the city of srinagar, on the indian side of kashmir, is already largely under water. the floods have killed more than 450 people. >> woodruff: top officials in and out of britain's government spent this day appealing to scottish voters to stay in the united kingdom.
6:12 pm
polls now suggest the yes vote, for independence, may carry the day in next week's referendum. gary gibbon, of independent television news, reports. >> monday fellow party leaders, needed to abandoned everything and get to scotland today. they also agreed on the message, odon't break up the u.k. family. everyone will be heart broken if this family of nations was torn apart. and these ties of family, these ties of friendship are not just ties for me but for people right across the united kingdom. >> they're a really important issue at stake. it's the future of the family of nations that makes up the united kingdom. >> panicked products of another country. >> they're concerned that this last ditch effort seems to be for their own jobs, that is the
6:13 pm
contrast between team scotland and the narrow focus of team westminster. (arguing) >> on the edge, one of the street corner arguments across scotland. >> you're telling me to leave my country! >> david cameron said scots mustn't treat the referendum lightly. >> i think people feel it's a bit like a general election that you make a decision and five years later you can make a different decision if you're fed up. this is totally different than general elections. >> a lot of reminders of the u.k. family that he'd like to point out around scotland simply disappeared. this is the home of stillmill from 22 years ago. this used to be the british
6:14 pm
shipbuilding, all over the scotland, british coal. and also the areas of deprivation left behind that the yes support is surging most. >> the referendum is next thursday, september 18. >> ifill: a new injection of private funding will target the ebola outbreak in west africa. the bill and melinda gates foundation announced today it will spend $50 million dollars on the effort. that's in addition to $10 million already committed. the new money will go to the united nations and other international groups, to buy supplies and develop vaccines and therapies. >> woodruff: for the first time in 35 years the earth's ozone layer is showing signs of thickening. that's according to findings released today by a scientific panel at the united nations. the ozone layer provides a shield against the sun's cancer causing ultraviolet rays, but it had been thinning since the 1970's. the report says a 1980's ban on harmful chemicals in refrigerants and aerosol sprays has turned things around.
6:15 pm
>> ifill: on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 55 points to close at 17,068; the nasdaq rose 34 points to close at 4,586; and the s&p 500 added seven, to finish at 1,995. still to come on the newshour. a preview of the president's address to the nation. what you need to know about the rare respiratory virus affecting children across the country. using science and spirituality to treat mental illness in india. why video games like minecraft are big business. and, a poet remembers his close friend, the journalist james foley. >> woodruff: we look ahead now to the president's address to the nation on his plan to dismantle the islamic state group. we're joined by our own chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner and political
6:16 pm
editor domenico montanaro. so, margaret, to you first. you have been talking to foreign policy experts and others. what do they expect the president to say. >> including officials to the government. i think it's going to be a broad offensive he's going to announce against the islamic state group -- diplomatic, military, economic, on every front, with the con that they're trying to put together now. and he said this before, to degrade and ultimately destroy or certainly destroy i.s.i.l.'s offensive capabilities, so that's the plan, and the elements are going to include, as we know, expanded use of american air power, first of all expanding the area inside iraq, not just to these confined groups, to confined areas, and secondly into syria, which is a government that is not giving permission. so it's a great big step for them. and secondly, it will be to try
6:17 pm
to get members of this coalition to step up to helping to expand the arming and equipping of not only the iraqi military but the syrian moderate opposition. essentially, they'll add an overt element to what's been essentially a covert program to do this. this will be much more overt than jordan and turkey. >> ifill: first reaction on capitol hill is, no, i don't think we'll give you what you're asking for, democrats, republicans. but in there seems like a slight shift this afternoon. >> obviously, we've seen republicans try to support the policy but be critical of the president saying he's taking too long. when you look yesterday at john boehner's press conference, he said "strategy" 13 times in three minutes because he was trying to play off of president obama's last week saying well, we don't have a strategy yet. well now the president is trying to get the strategy and one of margaret's points about what
6:18 pm
president obama is trying to do, one of those things is perhaps arm syrian rebels within syria who could then fight the islamic state group there, and what we could tell from that behind the scenes is that republicans are continuing a government funding measure short term. because the white house has been lobbying them to do so, because they're anticipating that the president is going to ask for some funding for the syrian rebels. >> ifill: they're now saying they may let the president make his case, at least. >> yeah, he's going to make his case and they'll meet tomorrow 9:00 a.m. to see if they will put it in another continuing resolution or look at it separately. >> woodruff: margaret, as we watch, we work up to a big moment tonight. a year ago was a big moment on syria. our allies from abroad must be watching very carefully. they must be deciding whether they're going to support it. are they behind us?
6:19 pm
>> the administration has lined up close to 40 countries very quickly that say they're part of this coals, but i am hearing great concern, especially from regional players about what they are asked to do. are they willing to make the painful choices and if the famously non-interventionist president ready to make a commitment? they heard what he said two years ago in syria about bombing over chemical weapons only to see him pull back. even european countries, britain france, indicated an interest. so arab governments will be at the meeting tomorrow where kerry will make the case. he said, well, you know, we're committed but we haven't heard any details and we're waiting to hear what he has to say. and there are painful choices. for example, is saudi arabia really ready to cut off the funding that's going to support
6:20 pm
the same extremist groups in syria? you know, will the turks stop the flow of foreign fighters which they've allowed to come lo the borders into syria and iraq? so there are painful choices that they're nervous about making if they think that the president isn't really committed to a lodge-term engagement here. >> ifill: does the strategy work without that support? >> i don't think so, judy, and i don't think the white house thinks so. the president doesn't want to look like he's george w. bush pretty much going it alone, say, in iraq. and, so, they are very, as you can see, how hard secretary kerry and the president's been working the phones to have this look like a multi-national, you know, coalition of the willing. and that's going back to old play books. >> woodruff: so, d do domenico
6:21 pm
montanaro, what do they think of president's foreign policy? it's at an all-time low but it's now in an increase. >> the nbc poll found president obama's foreign policy handling, 32%, all-time low, job approval at 40%, also an all-time low. what that says is this president is really facing a very critical, fine line that he has to walk tonight in the challenge that he's facing because he needs to make the case to kind of a war-weary public whether or not we should continue to basically ramp up in syria and in iraq when they have, in the past, been reticent to do so. 61% of americans are now saying they agree that it's in the u.s. interest to go and fight the islamic state group. that's up from just last year.
6:22 pm
margaret's mentioning syria, going in to hit syria 21% last year, when we look at american attitudes on military force against the islamic state, there's more limited support, however, because it's not an all-in thing. 40% support air strikes, 34% support airstrikes and ground troops. now, what that tells you is three-quarters of the country support some action but limited to those airstrikes, yes, but ground troops is a different ball game. >> woodruff: fair to say the president is working on two different audiences tonight, the american public opinion as well as the foreignle allies and enemies abroad. >> right. and it limits, really, what the president's policy can be going forward. if 85% of the country said they were in favor of ground troops, you might see a slightly different policy that could be put forward. >> i'm hearing from foreign diplomats there's concern is the president really committed for strategic reasons or is it to answer some of the concerns on the part of the american public
6:23 pm
after theby beheading of the two american journalists? >> that's what's changed public opinion. thank you both. >> thank you. une in 9:00 eastern for a "newshour" special report. we'll have live coverage of the president's address to the nation. plus analysis from mark shields and david brooks. and if you're away from the television, we'll be live streaming all our coverage on our web site. you can watch us on your computer or your mobile device. >> ifill: hundreds of children across the country have been hospitalized by a virus that has come on suddenly and strongly. jeffrey brown gets the latest on what you need to know. >> brown: it's called virus 68, ledo a surge of emergency room visits. in many ways, starts off like a regular cold, but some soon have wheezing and breathing
6:24 pm
difficulties. confirmed in colorado, illinois, iowa, missouri, kansas, kentucky and at least six others are reporting cases. we talked with two people dealing with it directly. dr. ann sho and dr. conners. what caused you to reach out to the c c.d.c.? >> a couple of weeks ago, we were seeing quite a bit more than expect add number of children presenting the to emergency departments and urgent care centers with complaints of wheezing, coughing, respiratory symptoms. so this got to the infectious disease folks who says this looks like an unusual viral outbreak, let's get in contact with the c.d.c. and testing began and we realized it was this antero virus you described.
6:25 pm
>> reporter: how big a deal has it become? >> over five or six weeks, 100 kids a day. >> brown: dr. schuchat, what do we know about the virus and why it's spreading now? >> the viruses are common, 10 million to 15 million infection each year but antero virus 68 is unusual. it's been known of since 1952, but we haven't seen many of the infections in the u.s. what we're seeing this year in a couple of places is an increase over expected of severe respiratory illness in children, worsening of asthma in particular. we think the virus is spread person to person through coughs and sneezes and that it's really important for people to wash hands, cover coughs, keep kids home if they're sick, those are the things we call respiratory hygiene or good etiquette to reduce the spread of respiratory
6:26 pm
virus from one person to another. >> do we know why it suddenly flairs up? it's been around since the '60s but at low levels, i guess. >> we wish we knew more about the virus. it's relatively new. we know the strains are similar to last year's and before so it hasn't changed but we're seeing increases in particular communities. c.d.c. is working closely with states and local health departments around the country to understand whether the increases are clusters of respiratory illness are caused by this. there are many other causes of respiratory illness and some of the clusters we've looked into, this hasn't been present, so it's early days and we'll know a lot more the next time. >> and, judy, do we know why it seems to hit children with respiratory problems already? is that correct? >> right, antero viruses in general cause more symptoms in young people than adults. adults can get milder,
6:27 pm
asymptomatic infections with the viruses but antero virus 68 seems to worsen asthma. so many of the cases we've seen are in children with asthma who have a worse time recovering from the virus. we think it's important for parents who have children with asthma to make sure the kids are taking their medicines regularly. flu season are coming and the vaccine is an important protection for children and others with asthma. they just don't handle viral infections as well as others do. >> brown: dr. conners, what has happened in the cases you've seen? when have children come in and what ha has been the progressios they've come? >> we've seen quite a few, many of them have asthma, many haven't had asthma in the past yet look like they do have asthma. about one in six of the children are taken to the hospital, some even to intensive care, and the
6:28 pm
rest they treat with enough medication in the emergency department and then send them home to continue their management. but some kids especially ones with underlying health problems including asthma, some have ended up in intensive care. >> brown: what kind of treatment is it? >> standard asthma stuff, inhaled medicines and usual oral steroids. that will get through most of the kids that have an asthma-like picture. the ones that come into the hospital, we have to use those more intensively than those at home and then the ones in intensive care, extra oxygen and intervenes medications as well. >> brown: what would you tell parents and when to bring the child in to the doctor or to an emergency room if necessary? >> sure, a great question. we tell parents to bring kids in if they're having trouble breathing or symptoms that need emergency or urgent care visit. we've had several families who have come in since they've
6:29 pm
learned about it on the news with concerns this might be the virus and the children actually weren't that sick, looking for specific testing and that sort of thing. we tell parents, no need for that. come in if your child needs help because they're sick to the level of needing emergency or urgent care. but if you're looking for specific testing or just examining the child, no need for specific testing and there is no specific therapy even p the tests were positive. so just take care of the child as you usually would and consider the energy department and urgent care to be a backup if your child is having trouble breathing or other important healthcare problem like that. >> brown: does history tell us anything about how long something like this might last or how big it might grow? >> we're reviewing the information that's available from outbreaks around the world. usually this is the right time of the year, august and september are when antero viruses peak. but we don't know how long this will last in the different
6:30 pm
communities or how widespread it will be. we think, in the weeks ahead, it will be important to be looking for other viruses as well because we'll head into the season when different viruses circulate. so it's not likely to go on for months. this is the right time of year for this kind of respiratory problem. >> all right, dr. schuchat and conners, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, bridging the gap between science and spirituality to treat mental illness in india. fred de sam lazaro has this report, part of our agents for change series. it also aired on the pbs program "religion and ethics newsweekly." this islamic figure revered in western india, martyred 500 years ago, has long been a
6:31 pm
pilgrimage destination. thousands of faithful, not just muslims, but hindu, christians and others from across india come to pray for a blessing or a miracle. couples unable to conceive, people suffering from various maladies. it is also the closest thing for many indians to a mental health facility. (wailing) >> it is a taboo subject, the stigma especially hard on families with people with mental illness, seen as a karma for misdeeds of the past life. this is a trustee of the shrine. >> the people who come with mental illness, have tried everything else and not gotten any relief. finally, this is the place they come to. they come here to pray.
6:32 pm
>> dozens of faith healers recite prayers while patients recite rituals, breathing in innocence, walking around the dome seven times. >> the numbers in india are simply staggering, thought to be about 100 million people in this country with common mental disorders and up to 20 million with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. for all of them, there are about 5,000 psychiatrists in this country. >> so faith healers from across india's diverse religious mosaic have long filled the gap says a well-known mental health advocate. >> lack of professionals, lack of medications, lack of awareness, lack of knowledge. so all of this leads to only one thing, that it's the most need
6:33 pm
of help. >> comes from an educated middle class background became an advocate after his brother came down with schizophrenia several years ago. he discovered there are some resources provided by regional government hospitals but they aren't well known or utilized in a historically inefficient system. so unlike mental health officials led by the doctor to the shrine. >> when i came here, there were 40 to 50 faith healers standing in the door to keep us from entering. they thought doctors were coming to put them out of business. it was a very sensitive time especially since this is the muslim holy place and several thousand jobs are at stake. >> eventually, perhaps with the threat of legal action, they were able to enter, but the doctor said they reassured the shrine's leaders they had no intent of shutting it down. he says, over, conditions were
6:34 pm
appalling. >> 30 to 40 people were chained to a post, often because they'd had violent episodes. some were abandoned by their families. conditions are very unhygienic and completely inhumane. >> things improved markedly and the supreme court outlawed chains are used but only symbolically and not as restraints and the shrine allowed psychiatrists to set up clinics inside and just outside the premises. they also began to train faith healers to look for tell-tale signs of common mental illness. symptoms like those of the 23-year-old through a very different therapeutic lens. >> somebody has performed black magic on him. i can tell the way he's sulking and down. >> but after a session of ritual
6:35 pm
and prayer, ali brought him to see his tag team partner. >> he says he's been having physical problems so i thought i would bring him to see you. >> he complained of leg pain but as the conversation went on there was a longer li litany. >> i don't sleep because the case comes. >> who's the case? a man, he says come with me every day. >> after clarifying there was no real threat, the doctor renewed a prescription for the anti-schizophrenia drugs. his mother said his condition improved after he began taking them. >> he sleeps now. he never used to sleep through the night. before, he used to hit us, but now stopped doing that. >> i'm going to give you 15 days' medicine. see me again after 15 days or if you have any problems.
6:36 pm
>> psychiatrist bushan is careful to acknowledge his faith-based partner. pills are routinely blessed in the shrine's inner sanctum. dr. bashan says this reaching out is mostly but not always resipcated. >> some tell the patients the medicines are not needed or they can stop taking them. >> we spent a lot of money and to no benefit. >> his parents, laborers from about two hours away, struggled five years for their son's illness before finally getting results. >> so everyone was telling us to go to the darga where they could treat the problem of black magic so we came here. then they told us they had this medicine program as well. >> i asked, is it the medicine or the prayer that's working? >> both are working. >> reporter: milais is not
6:37 pm
placed with that kind of response and says there can be therapeutic value in the pilgrimage to the shrine. >> it's a holy place, finding some kind of solace, bringing them back to normalcy and if we are able to provide them with medical intervention and proper care, counseling, listening, i'm sure they will feel very good they're someplace to take care of themselves. >> the altruist has managed to bring 16,000 to th 16,000 patiee program called medicine and prayer. it's a tiny number with vast need but experts say a promising prototype to expand psychiatric services without disrupting or antagonizing age-old belief systems. >> woodruff: fred's reporting is a partnership with the under- told stories project at st.
6:38 pm
mary's university of minnesota. >> ifill: there are new reports out of yet another tech giant, in this case microsoft, trying to purchase a popular gaming company. it's part of an industry and market that you may not know about unless you are wise in the ways of x-box and playstation. game sales in the u.s. topped $21 billion last year that's double the amount earned at movie theaters in north america. and more than 70 million people worldwide watch games played as e-sports over the web or on tv. hari sreenivasan has more from our new york studios about this potential deal and the wider phenomenon. >> reporter: in the hit game minecraft players maneuver through a lego-like landscape, build whatever they can imagine, or to battle monsters.
6:39 pm
as seen in this youtube video by the game's swedish creator mojang. >> yeah, it's very popular. >> reporter: with more than 50 million copies sold since 2011, minecraft has even contributed to a trend of users simply watching others play online. now, it's being widely reported that microsoft is in talks to buy mojang for more than $2 billion. the deal isn't a certainty, and would likely draw some criticism. markus persson, who came up with minecraft, has stressed the importance of smaller, independent developers like mojang. >> if you get a game from a big publisher, you kind of expect it to be something different, where on the other hand, because the indie scene has grown so much and you kind of know where that is, you look at it with different eyes and you can actually explore new game ideas and concepts and even styles, which is really cool. >> reporter: for its part, microsoft has a major incentive to do the deal. players already can buy minecraft on the company's x-box system. but a merger could secure the game for all its devices, including the windows phone and
6:40 pm
exclude the game from being on other platforms. the highly profitable gaming industry has also attracted other big names. last month, online shopping giant amazon said it's buying twitch, a live video streaming service for gamers for nearly $1 billion. and earlier this year, facebook bought virtual reality company oculus for $2 billion. for more on what all this might mean for microsoft and the gaming world, joined by editor and chief of the gaming site. what's so special? >> it's the game every kid has played or like to play. they love to dress up as the characters in minecraft. it's not just a video game. think of it as virtual leggos. it's a series of virtual bricks and you can build them into anything you think of. >> sreenivasan: it's not just
6:41 pm
a first person shooter when you're running around and killing people? the graphics are blocky and not ex trave gabts. >> it's not what you would think of if you think of video games, especially if you're horrified about video games and worried they're all about violence. this is a game where it has a mode where you can fight monsters but most people use it and get excited about it where they can play around and build anything they can think of. you can go online and see people major cast also and space ships and working calculators, create cities and things. >> $2 billion, developers have been approached by previous buyers and haven't sold. why not? >> we'll see if the deal actually goes through but it's interesting because mojang is a very small studio. minecraft is made by one guy, markus persson, he's sense handed it -- since handed it off
6:42 pm
to otherrings in the studio and it's expanded. he's a very opinionated guy and spoken about his suspension of what various corporations are doing and has worked with some of them but he's an independent guy and you wouldn't expect him to sell. >> sreenivasan: we've seen the other moves in the industry where you've seen a little bit of the traditional players. now am san is a big -- amazon is a big company. >> right. >> sreenivasan: what do you get out of buying twitch and what does it say about gaming overall? >> the headlines of big mergers of traditional companies is not it, you're seeing amazon and google trying to buy twitch which is a service we watch people buying video games. you see facebook buying oculus which is about virtual reality. it can be about medicine, teleconferencing, education. similarly, if you think about minecraft, it's not just video game. it's virtual building blocks.
6:43 pm
people can use it for education, productivity and creativity. so we're not seeing just an interest in purely acquiring a video game or video game studio but a technology that can be applied to broader applications as well. >> when did this happen that it's interesting to watch others play video games? >> i think everybody has watched somebody play pac-man and go tore the high scores. so there's an appeal to watch somebody perform as we watch sports. but if we're talking about twitch, in particular, it's also interactive. people talk about what's happening in a chat window. that often becomes its sort of social experience, and in twitch broadcast, you have people playing the games, reading the comments and changing what they're doing. it's an interactive broadcast. >> what about the acquisition by facebook of oculus that make the v.r. head goggles, is that
6:44 pm
changing the face of gaming? >> people have been trying to perfect virtual reality for a long time. in another decade or generation, they figure out how to put us into a new virtual space. oculus, you put a headset on and it looks like you're in another world. virtual legs don't believe while your real legs move. i think facebook sees it a way for gaming and how we interact with each other. i'm going to put the head sets on. i want to be in the studio with you. >> how does amazon or microsoft make money from spending on all these other platforms? >> there's a question whether or not oculus can make the money back facebook will be spending. minecraft sold 16 million copies alone on the pc and the mac in the few years it's out. it's on every platform you can think of. people pay to play minecraft.
6:45 pm
that's a traditional way of making money. is microsoft too high in we'll see. but if you're buying virtual, you can do more with that. >> sreenivasan: is video games more profitable? >> people go back and forth. the gaming industry likes to puff up its chest and say we make better money than the box office but don't count dvd sales. you could argue either way. but it's clear the gaming industry is a healthy growing industry that's open to a more deverse set of creators. we talk about the blockbuster acquisitions but not as much about the fact more and more people of more types, more men and women, more people of color, different sexualities and background, they're always getting to make games because it's easier than ever to make games and we're seeing diverse creations. i don't think any big studio would minecraft, the graphics
6:46 pm
aren't impressive, but the appeal is great and thank goodness a guy in stockholm was able to make it. >> sreenivasan: thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a poet recalls the life and legacy of his close friend, journalist james foley, who was beheaded by a member of the islamic state group in syria in august. daniel johnson is the founding director of 826 boston, a writing center for disadvantaged youth. >> in 1996 when we signed up to become teachers to teach for america and we were both assigned to teach in phoenix, jim was teaching middle school history and i was teaching fifth and sixth grade bilingual students, so we trained together, we taught together for three years.
6:47 pm
we really became fast friends and connected around literature and a deep love of books. i had some of the greatest adventures of my life with jim, traveling to cuba in 1999 to, you know, trekking through the desert when we lived in arizona, went through the grand canyon in the winter. so i think there's a thirst for adventure, this real curiosity. when he went to libya, he was taken captive and held by gadhafi's forces for 44 days, and it was an incredibly trying time for his family, for his friends. when he was captured, you know, the second time in syria, i wrote a poem over the course of a year or so and finished it in the spring. we made a pact long ago to become writers, and that really
6:48 pm
felt to me like one of the most direct ways to communicate with him. in the absence of sparrows, rockets concuss, guns rattle off, dogs in the square feed on dead horses. i don't know, jim, where you are. it's night, cold and bruised where you are, plastic twine binds your hands. you wait and pray. pray and wait. but this is where the picture goes grey. we don't know, jim, where you are. one of the lines of the poem is when did you last see birds, and, you know, during his captivity, i mean, he was cut off a da from his books, his fa, friends, things he loved. don't get me wrong, we expect you back, skinny, coffee eyes,
6:49 pm
sunken by alive. you've always come back, from iraq, syria, afghanistan, even libya after gadhafi's forces captured and held you for 44 days. you tracked time, scratching marks with your zipper on prison walls, scrawling notes on cigarette boxes, reciting the qur'an with other prisoners. in the absence of sparrows, the front page story says you have been missing since november 22, 2012. everything else, it doesn't say. in the absence of sparrows, you simply wandered off past the so sonoco, pockets stuffed, the apartment is open still. the last line of the poem is the apartment a open still and, yonu know, it doesn't end. there's a dash. it's a poem that -- when i
6:50 pm
stopped working on it, it's intentionally unfinished because we were waiting for jim's return. i plan to continue writing about jim and about his plight because writing for me is one of the ways i make sense of the world. i look at august 19th -- i actually wrote that morning a poem entitled open letter, says james foley in syria. and we got the news that day jim had been killed. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day, president obama prepared to speak to the nation on confronting the islamic state group. in excerpts released by the white house, he pledged u.s. air
6:51 pm
strikes will target the militants wherever they exist. he also called for a broad coalition. the associated press reported the video of ray rice punching his then-fiance was sent to an n.f.l. executive five months ago. league officials have said they first saw the video monday. the bill and melinda gates foundation announced increase spending to fight ebola to the total of $50 million. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, most states already ban texting while driving, but a long island district attorney wants to take it a step further with kill switches that block drivers from texting while they're on the road. read more about this proposed plan, on the rundown. and how can social media help doctors battle the obesity epidemic? a new study suggests that it could be a cost-effective method of treating a growing number of patients.
6:52 pm
that's on our health page. all that and more is on our web site, >> ifill: and later tonight on most pbs stations, nova explores the science of immunization. the documentary, "vaccines: calling the shots" was produced by tangled bank studios, a film production company of the howard hughes medical institute, which is also an underwriter of the newshour. there's been growing concern about the number of parents opting out of vaccinations for their children. this excerpt lays out the risks it poses to what's known as herd immunity. >> the 2013 measles outbreak in new york hit hard and fast, but remained within the brooklyn area. why didn't it spread to the other 8 million people in the city? the virus was in circulation, even though it often wasn't obvious.
6:53 pm
and it was being carried by people who often had no idea they were inpec infected. but the vast majority of people who came into contact with the virus had protection. they were vaccinated. >> there's two things that matter for whether or not i'm going to get sick. one is, if i bump into somebody who has the disease, am i protected against it or not? but the other piece, and the more important piece, is the chance i would bump into somebody in the first place who has this disease. and you can think of this as these sort of concentric circles of people, and the less the disease exists in my circle or the next circle or the next circle, the safer i am.
6:54 pm
>> it's known as herd immunity, and it protects everyone, including young babies and people who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons. and in new york, it worked. >> if we didn't have the high vaccination level we do in new york city and even in this community, i can promise you we would have had hundreds if not thousands of cases. >> but this protection is fragile. for highly infectious diseases like measles, we need 95% of the community vaccinated for herd immunity to hold. if the rate drops even a few percent, herd immunity can collapse. >> ifill: you can watch nova's vaccines: calling the shots" tonight on most pbs stations. following the president's address to the nation. and we'll have live coverage of that speech in a newshour special report. including analysis by mark shields and david brooks.
6:55 pm
join us at 9 p.m. eastern. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
6:56 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib. radio silence, a wall street analyst issues a dire warning for a familiar retail name, radio shack. pay off a very different story for apple. shares rebound as investors try to determine whether its new mobile payment systems will change the way consumers spend and business gets done. and oil slick, why it is a bad time to be in energy bulls. good evening, welcome and thank you for joining us. it was a tale of two companies on wall street today. one, an innovator who saw its stock decline taking the tech side for a walk, the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on